Almost all farmed produced shrimps are exported as processed frozen sea food and is the second largest export item in Bangladesh. Presently 162 processing plants are in operation among which 74 processing plants are EU approved. Directly and indirectly more than 2 million people are engaged in upstream and downstream activities related to shrimp industry in the country- in harvesting, culture, processing and exporting (DoF, 2012). Majority of the processing workers are women. Thus, these plants are assured livelihood vast number of people of the country. Specific significances are as follows-

  1. Government earns considerable amount of foreign currency through frozen export
  2. Consumed locally and serve important source of protein
  3. Created employment opportunities for about seven hundred thousand people


Table 7: Contribution of shrimp/Prawn in frozen food export (DoF, 2012)

Financial year Total Production (MT) Shrimp/Prawn Production
Quantity (MT) Value (Crore BDT) Exported (%)
Quantity Value
2006-2007 73704 53361 2992.33 73.40 89.25
2007-2008 75299 49907 2863.92 66.28 84.33
2008-2009 72888 50368 2744.12 69.10 84.60
2009-2010 77647 51599 2885.21 66.39 84.65
2010-2011 96469 54891 3568.20 56. 90 77.50



Lobster culture is not yet gets popularity in the context of our country and they are mainly captured from the Bay of Bengal during shrimp exploitation. It is exploited mainly from westward elephant point upto Saint Martin Island in the Bay of Bengal. Lobsters have both high food and economic value. Specific significances are as follows-

  1. Sold mostly fresh or frozen in local markets and sometimes exported
  2. Locally consumed
  3. It may serve as ornamental value



Due to religious prohibition on eating crabs, the mud crab (Scylla serrata) and swimming crab (Portunus pelagicus) fisheries are not popular in Bangladesh even though they have commercial importance in the world market. Some economic importance are-

  1. Some rural Buddhists and Hindu people consume crabs as food locally
  2. Millions of poor fishers, traders and transporters are directly or indirectly dependent on crab fishery (crab collection and fattening) in Bangladesh (Zafar, 2004; Patterson and Sainuel, 2005).
  3. New alternative livelihoods
  4. Continued increase in export of live mud crab plays an important role to the foreign exchange earnings of Bangladesh (Azam et al., 1998).


The annual production and economic contribution of crabs in Bangladesh is listed below-

Table 8: Contribution of crab in frozen food export (DoF, 2012)

Financial year Contribution of Crab
Quantity (MT) Production Value (Crore BDT)
2006-2007 1123 15.84
2007-2008 439 8.88
2008-2009 1217 11.98
2009-2010 692 10.41
2010-2011 4485.20 54.11



Trochus and Turbo are commercially important gastropods in making valuable buttons, bangles, and mother of pearl.

Oysters and mussels: The estimated production of these bivalves is to be 5 to 10 metric tons annually. Some important economic importance are-

  1. Pearl bearing oysters produce gem quality pearl which have high economic and ornament value
  2. Pearls are valuable gemstone used in making jewellery and crushed in cosmetics and paints.
  3. The edible oyster contain glycogen, lipids, protein, vitamins specially A, B and D and several essential minerals.
  4. Some coastal dwellers use oyster and mussel as food and fish bait.
  5. The shells are also used to make lime.
  6. Oyster shells are also used in the preparation of Ayurvedic and homeopathic medicines in the form of shell extracts.
  7. The oyster and mussel shells are used as poultry and fish meal.
  8. Shells of these bivalves are also being used for preparing decoration pieces and jewellery ornaments like necklace, ring, earnings, bangles, hair slides, hairpin etc.
  9. Potential local markets have been identified for these mollusks by Ghosh (2004) among the people of Rakhaing community at Cox’s Bazar and tribal people in Hill Tracts regions. Prospective export markets also exist in Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia and China where these species are widely eaten.


Clams: The annual production of two clams (Meretix meretrix and Anadra sp.) is roughly estimated to be 80 to 100 metric tons from which Government earned considerable amount of foreign currency. Clams and its shell are collected in large quantities for-

  1. lime production;
  2. manufacture of handicrafts which sell commonly in the local tourist markets;
  3. using as raw material for poultry and fish feed; and
  4. some tribal communities generally consume its flesh.


Cephalopods (Cuttlefish, Squid and Octopus): The study on stock assessment to promote exploitation is yet to be done, although they have potential export market in Japan, Thailand and China. Some significances are as follows-

  1. cuttlefish primarily used as food for coastal tribal people;
  2. babies are also used as bait for commercial and recreational fisheries; and
  3. important in local and subsistence fisheries as well as export industries.



  • Ahmed, M. K. 1991. Mud crab-a potential aqua-resource of Bangladesh, Report (REP-51), Bay of Bengal Program (BOBP), Madras, pp. 95-103.
  • Ahmed. 1990. Studies on the identification and abundance of Molluscan fauna of the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council.
  • Azam, K., Kamal, D. and Mostafa, M. 1998. Status and potential of mud crab in Bangladesh. In: Proceedings of the National Seminar on Integrated Management of Ganges Flood Plains and Sundarbans Ecosystem. Khulna University, Khulna, Bangladesh. 16-18 July, 1994. pp. 150-160.
  • DoF. 1999. Matshaw Sampad Unnayan O Karmasangsthan (Matshaw Saptaho Sankalan), Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, Dhaka. 36 p.
  • DoF. 2012. Jatiyo Matshaw Saptaho Sankalan, Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, Dhaka. 128 p.
  • Ghosh, S. K. 2004 . Potentiality for the development of domestic and export market for mollusc (green mussel Perna viridis, clam Meretrix meretrix and oyster Crasostrea spp) in coastal Bangladesh. Report of a SUFER-DFID funded project.
  • Hena, M. K. A. 2006. Composition of cephalopods in the Moheskhali channel, Cox’s Bazar, Research Report, Chittagong University, Bangladesh.
  • Hossain, M. S. 2001. Biological aspects of the coastal and marine environment of Bangladesh”, J. Ocean Coast. Manage., 44: 261-282.
  • Patterson, J. and Sainuel, V.D. 2005. Participatory approach of fisher women in crab fattening for alternate income generation in Tuticorin, southeast coast of India. Asian Fisheries Science. 18: 153-159.
  • Siddiqui, K. U., Islam, M. A., Kabir, S. M. H., Ahmad, M., Ahmed, A. T. A., Rahman, A. K. A., Haque, E. U., Ahmed, Z. U., Begum, Z. N. T., Hassan, M. A., Khondker, M. and Rahman, M. M. (eds.). 2007. Encyclopedia of Flora and Fauna of Bangladesh, Vol. 17. Molluscs. Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Dhaka, 415 p.
  • Siddiqui, M. Z. H. and Zafar, M. 2002. Crabs in the Chakaria Sundarban area of Bangladesh. J. Nat. Ocean Marit. Inst., 19: 61-77.
  • Zafar, M. 2004. Culture of mud crab Scylla serrata in the coastal area of Bangladesh. DFID-UGC super Project Report, Institute of Marine Sciences, University of Chittagong, Chittagong, Bangladesh. pp. 6-16.

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Economic Importance of Shellfishes of Bangladesh

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Roni Chandra Mondal

Research student, Department of Fisheries, University of Rajshahi, Rajshahi-6205, Bangladesh. More...

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